When Dutch traveler Mieke wanted to get a dog, many told her that she’d have to settle down and stop traveling. She couldn’t disagree more. While living and working in Vietnam, she welcomed Tron, an eight-week-old Husky, into her family. Tron began traveling with Mieke and hasn’t stopped yet. They’ve explored three continents together, Asia, Europe and North America, by car, bus, taxi, train, plane and ferry. Today, Tron is four and a half years old, and the two live in Canada, where they continue to explore and travel together.
What inspired you to travel with your dog?
Dogs have always been a part of my life. There was no question for me that I would get my own dog one day. A lot of people told me that getting a dog would mean being tied down to one place, however, I did not want to give up on my passion to travel. Why not take him with me? To let Tron experience awesome things for the first time and to strengthen our bond while doing it, that is my main inspiration.
How did you prepare your dog for travel?
Ever since Tron was a puppy we took him everywhere with us. Small car rides, in the train, etc. We tried to make everything as fun as possible, so he would be comfortable while traveling. We also started crate training early to get him used to the crate for flights. For every big car ride/flight we do, we make sure Tron is really tired, so he will more likely just fall asleep and be relaxed.
What is the hardest part about traveling with your dog?
We don’t take a lot of flights and always travel overland as much as we can. The few times we did take a flight and picked up Tron at the destination airport, we weren’t met with the most helpful airport attendants. The first time, nobody knew where Tron was and it took us a little while to locate him. The second time, we had to take Tron through customs and he had to be inspected. Instead of letting us skip the line a bit (other people only had material matters to import), we had to wait an hour without being able to take Tron out of the travel crate. Definitely hard for us, but Tron was a happy pupper as soon as he was able to get out of the crate!
What’s your favorite thing about traveling with a dog?
Traveling with your pet really strengthens the bond. We have had many situations where we had to rely on each other and this has built a deep trust between us. It is also fantastic to have your best buddy by your side to share these experiences with!
How did your style of travel change with a dog in tow?
I had to start planning my travels a lot more. What mode of transportation, how many stops and where. Import regulations of the destination country (which included blood tests and waiting periods, etc.), what food is available. But this is also very fun because we really maximize all of our trips by planning well!
How do you find accommodation while traveling?
We mostly use Airbnb’s to book accommodation during trips. We also have a big network of family and friends around the world we can spend a few nights with or decide to go camping depending on the weather. However, it can still be a bit difficult to find pet-friendly accommodations, there is definitely a need for improvements to make bringing your pet more accessible to everyone.
What are some essential items that you pack for your dog?
We have a blanket that we got when Tron was a puppy that we bring everywhere with us. So he has something familiar anywhere we go. We always make sure to bring his Ruffwear harness and a couple of different lengths of leashes for any situation. Luckily, Tron is a very easy going dog and he doesn’t need much more than having his humans close!
What surprised you the most about traveling with dogs?
Everything is possible with a bit of planning. We have never had to ditch plans or turn down trips. It has been an adjustment, but wouldn’t want to change my way of traveling for anything.
Name a trip highlight.
A highlight was definitely our first train ride together. I had just picked Tron up as a tiny eight-week-old pup and we had to travel from Hanoi to Sapa in Vietnam. The only option was an eight-hour overnight train ride from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Officially, animals were not allowed on the train, so I had to sneak Tron under a coat onto the train. For eight hours, we couldn’t do anything but be quiet (not easy with an eight-week-old pup) and enjoy each other’s company. We instantly bonded and clocked our first 300 km together.
What advice do you have for people who want to travel with their dog, but are nervous to do so?
Start small! Exploring with your pet doesn’t mean it has to be across continents. Take a small overnight road trip somewhere where you know the surroundings and you know your pet is comfortable. If that is a success, you can start planning bigger journeys.